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Code a Card to Empower Girls in Tech

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What better way to start off the year than by making a positive impact in education!


That's exactly what the Cisco teams did recently when we introduced some young girls from Oakland, California to circuits. In January the DevNet, Spark, and Networking Academy teams united to make a difference for these bright young ladies who are interested in tech.

Girls Inc of Alameda County brought a group of amazing middle school students to the Cisco Meraki office in San Francisco.


Why did our team do this? Did you know that only about 20% of engineering degrees are awarded to women? There is a lot of research that indicates that girls get discouraged at a young age from going into technical fields. What we've learned is that there are a few ways to counteract the lifelong disadvantage that many girls face. Mentoring, seeing women as role models, and the role men play in empowering girls are just a few ways we can encourage more girls that they do have a place in a technical field.




So why did we decide to partner with this organization?


In case you don't already know about this wonderful non-profit, let me share a little about them. Girls Inc of Alameda County empowers girls from low-income communities to navigate gender, economic, and racial barriers to realize their full potential. Through a continuum of life-changing programs and counseling services Girls Inc inspires girls to be strong through healthy living, smart through academic engagement, and bold through leadership development.

The impact that Girls Inc has made by empowering more girls into a brighter future has been recognized by a grant from the Cisco Foundation. 100% of the girls in the program are confident with computers because of experiences like this. Girls Inc reports that 86% of the girls end up expressing increased interest in pursuing a career in STEM.




How did the Cisco teams engage the girls with tech?


By working hands-on with playdough and making circuits, these girls got to test out their problem solving and collaboration skills with the Cisco team. Girls Inc of Alameda County is all about helping students find their voice to be Strong, Smart, and Bold. It was exciting to see the girls asking great questions and speaking up in front of a room of working professionals. We saw these middle school girls learning leadership, technical, and collaboration skills all at once.


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Over the last 6 months, the Cisco DevNet and Spark teams have been collaborating with Girls Inc of Alameda County and we are just getting started. To date, Cisco has been a gold sponsor of their yearly charity and fundraising event. Cisco and Girls Inc staff worked together to plan this innovation center tour, mentoring sessions, and learning projects where the girls got to experiment hands-on with new technology concepts. We are just getting started with this collaboration and we will continue to work with the Girls Inc team to provide technology workshops and mentoring opportunities with women and men from Cisco. We have already started planning for our upcoming hackathon.


The work being done by Girls Inc of Alameda County is making an impact as 100% of the girls in their program graduate from high school. These students are also two times more likely to apply and be admitted to college as opposed to their peers. We can make a difference when we take the time to invest in others and instill confidence in their abilities to achieve in education and technology. Now it is your turn to help join us in making an impact for these girls.


Do you want to help support these girls too? Now you can!

Simply Code a Card and share it on Facebook or Twitter using #CodetoGive.

Once you do this, Cisco will donate $10 to Girls Inc of Alameda County.




Not only can you donate, but you can multiply your donation by sharing with your friends and have them Code a Card too. Get the word out and continue the conversation with comments below or reach out to me @kuehltweet or @CiscoDevNet on Twitter.

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